December 15, 2017

GCSA Resolution- President’s Address Sparks Debate

By Makayela Isbell ‘20 and Katie Simpson ‘20
Staff Reporter and Editor-in-Chief

Student Body President, Davis Metzger, vetoed the first resolution passed by the student government in seven years on Saturday. He notified the student body in an email, sent early on Sunday morning.

The resolution, passed by the student government Forum on Thursday, was intended to respond to an address given by President Michael Lindsay in chapel on Monday, Nov. 6.

Specifically, the resolution focuses on President Lindsay’s use of  the phrase “exegetical acrobatics.”

In Chapel, describing the process of examination the Board of Trustees undertook following the media firestorm of 2014, Lindsay said, “we concluded that the basic theological premise that undergirded sort of Gordon’s understanding of human sexuality, that that really could not change.”

“As an evangelical institution that prizes scriptural authority, we came to the conclusion that it would require so much exegetical acrobatics of scripture to be able to get to a place to sort of justify something to say that same-sex sexual union was something that would be appropriate in the life of the faithful community; we just could not do that,” President Lindsay continued.

In response, the resolution said, “We feel that the president’s use of the phrase “exegetical acrobatics” in reference to the beliefs of other Christians in the context of a sermon is both offensive and inappropriate, although this may not have been his intention.”

“While we have no official stance on the issue of homosexuality, we are empathetic to the pain and marginalization that members of the LGBTQ+ community feel after the President’s speech in chapel on Monday and previous actions by the administration,” the resolution concluded.

Students have responded to both the resolution and to President Lindsay’s chapel address. Metzger said, “There were several meetings of students on Friday with the express purpose of talking about something GCSA had done the night before.”

“That’s never happened in my three years at Gordon, not once,” Metzger said, “and I’ve been on GCSA all three years, so that’s concerning to me. Maybe it’s good, maybe it’s bad, but it means that people are talking.”

Adding to the campus-wide conversation on President Lindsay’s address, an open letter to President Lindsay was distributed on Monday. The letter also took issue with the phrase “exegetical acrobatics”, and expressed empathy towards LGBTQ+ students.

Signed by over forty students, the letter reads, “‘exegetical acrobatics’, used in a nonchalant and flippant manner, is both inappropriate and offensive to your campus’ LGBTQ+ community, not to mention all students who ascribe to Affirming Theology.”

“Your words, as president, have the possibility to impact the student body both positively and negatively. Your statement, we fear, does the latter,” The letter continued.

Of the resolution and the debate it sparked, Metzger said, “I really think the impetus was the phraseology used in the speech Monday as it pertains to the hurts felt by LGBTQ+ students, but you can’t talk about anything on this issue without talking about everything on this issue. So, this became a conversation about everything that’s happened since 2014, which is why so many students who are not themselves LGBTQ+ took an interest after the Forum.”

Mulvihill, a Representative-at-Large who voted ‘yay’, said “I think it’s an important thing to empathize with the LGBTQ community.” She said the resolution will “start the conversation and start moving the hurt into different direction.” She also said “for those of you hurting know you’re not alone and know you have support” and that “there are people out there rooting for you.”

In both his email notifying the student body of the veto and an interview with The Tartan, Metzger said that students who spoke to him were dissatisfied with the pace at which the resolution, which was drafted on Thursday in Forum, was debated and passed.

“The overwhelming comment I heard from people was, ‘Please pump the brakes; give me a week to talk to my reps,’” Metzger said. Also noting the uniqueness of the resolution form, Metzger said, “it was very unique which is why I was troubled by how quickly it moved.”

Hansen, a Representative-at-Large, said “I decided to vote ‘nay’ on the most recent resolution because I believe that GCSA should not make a hasty or irrational decision without first taking significant time to consult the opinions of the student body and to contemplate on this matter.”

The representatives will have the opportunity to overturn Metzger’s veto by a ⅔ majority vote at Forum on Thursday. When asked what the student body should be looking forward to in Forum, Metzger said, “hopefully they should be looking forward to open, sincere, grace-seasoned dialogue on this most contentious of issues that it sometimes feels like we can’t escape.”

Metzger said, “I’d love for people to be there…more importantly I hope people talk to their reps between now and Thursday.”

Forum will be held Thursday at 7:00pm in Jenks 237.

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